The Supreme Court on Tuesday invalidated a provision of federal law that requires the mandatory deportation of immigrants who have been convicted of some "crimes of violence", holding that the law is unconstitutionally vague.
And in a blow to Donald Trump, the judge the president picked to join the court, Neil Gorsuch, who is known as an arch conservative, sided with the more liberal wing of the court in his decisive vote.
The Court voted 5-4 against the White House's proposal to deport specific illegal immigrants residing in the United States who commit a "violent crime", saying the "language was too vague" to be properly enforced.
Dimaya came to the United States from the Philippines as a legal permanent resident in 1992 at age 13. Conviction for a crime of violence subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process. In 2007 and 2009, he pleaded no contest to charges of residential burglary in California.
In 2010, the government sought to deport Dimaya. He received a two-year prison sentence for each conviction. The Immigration Judge held that Dimaya was deportable and that burglary constitutes a crime of violence because it always involves a risk of physical violence.
The court's 5-4 decision concerns a provision of federal immigration law that defines a "crime of violence".
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A federal appeals court in San Francisco previously struck down the provision as too vague, and on Monday the Supreme Court agreed.
Also, given President Trump signed the CLOUD Act, the court also officially vacated the major USA v. Microsoft case dealing with whether email stored in servers overseas could be compelled to be turned over to law enforcement.
The government argued that Dimaya could be removed from the country because his convictions qualified as crimes of violence.
Only eight justices heard the case last term after Scalia's death, and in late June, the court announced it would re-hear arguments this term, presumably so that Gorsuch could break some kind of a tie.
In this case, President Barack Obama's administration took the same position in the Supreme Court in defense of the challenged provision.